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Regional editor hits out at Facebook over web safety

A campaigning regional daily editor has hit out at Facebook over its refusal to install a “panic button” on its site.

The Northern Echo recently fought a successful campaign to reduce the dangers facing young people using the internet after the murder of Darlington student Ashleigh Hall by a man she met online.

As a result of the Echo’s ‘Safety Net’ campaign, the government eventually agreed that every child over the age of five will be taught about internet safety as a compulsory element of the school curriculum.

But Echo editor Peter Barron is still frustrated by Facebook’s refusal to install a panic button on its pages, likening the social networking giant to a “stubborn child.”

Writing on his blog, he said: “Much has been done to promote internet safety following the murder of Darlington student Ashleigh Hall last October.

“But while heartening progress has been made, the outstanding frustration has been the refusal of Facebook to follow other social networking sites by installing a “panic button” on its pages…it has been like forcing a stubborn child to understand right from wrong.”

Facebook has agreed to a series of other ‘safe surfing’ measures but has still stopped short of the panic button.

Said Peter: “I still do not understand why it will not become part of a common approach to internet safety by adopting the Child Exploitation and Online Protection panic button but significant progress has been made and that should be welcomed.”

  • Peter Chapman, 33, was jailed for life after pleading guilty to Ashleigh’s killing at Teesside Crown Court last month.